I had some work done on my car over the weekend...a list of items slightly longer than a 20-minute oil change. (remember those tires I said I was going to buy? consider the economy stimulated.)
So rather than pass the time in the waiting area flipping through a stack of magazines or watching TV, or shopping on the north side of Manitowoc (is there any shopping left on the north side of Manitowoc??), I took a stroll up to Mariner's Trail along Lake Michigan, walked a couple hundred yards up the trail and found a bench with a sign that read, "Bench donated by Carolyn Lanza and Richard Greisch."
I sat down on the bench and stared out at the lake, a couple tiny sailboats dotting the murky brown water, thin strips of blue slicing through to give hope for a more attractive great lake in the coming summer months.
Bikers and runners and walkers made their way along the trail a few feet behind me, out to soak in much of the same view I was getting while I waited for my worn Kumhos to be replaced with Goodyear triple-treads.
A nun rode past on what looked to be an older style three- or five-speed bicycle, with sidebags on either side of her rear tire. She had a helmet tightly strapped to her head, her habit beneath it, flowing down her back. And she also wore a neon orange mesh vest like you see guys wear when they work on road crews.
I wish I would have had my camera out, because it would've made a great photo. I wanted to run after her and ask her how often she comes out to enjoy the trail...but I'm kinda slow, kinda fat and kinda old. And she was on a bike, you know. So I conserved my energy and recorded the image in my mental filing drawer instead.
An older couple walked on the beach along the water's edge with their dog that was carrying what looked to be an old rag doll in its mouth.
A short time later, another woman came walking with her dog. This dog had a ball that it couldn't seem to keep in its mouth, or maybe it just didn't want to, as it was more concerned with digging its front paws in the sand or splashing in the water than playing fetch.
One woman came by carrying two pieces of driftwood that she picked up along the beach. I didn't know her, and my bench was too far away from the water's edge for me to call down and ask, but...I'm assuming she had a collection, and those were her two latest additions.
I sat and read a few chapters from Anne Lamott's Plan B: Further Thoughts On Faith, and when I looked up to concentrate on the lake, I was able to drown out the noise from the traffic on the busy road behind me, and hear only the waves lapping against the shore.
This made me feel a little more Zen than I normally do.
Once when I looked up from my book, I noticed a dot on the horizon, and knew it was much bigger than a sailboat. And soon I got to witness the familiar sight of the Badger carferry moving tortoise-like toward the finish line of the Manitowoc port on its journey from Ludington, Michigan.
After absorbing all the sights and sounds and spending equal amounts of time reading and people-watching, I grabbed a notebook and a pen, and wrote this blog entry, grateful to Carolyn and Richard for providing me with such a spectacular front-row seat.
A more enriching way to spend a couple hours than in an auto garage's waiting area, don't you think?
I should have my tires replaced a couple times a month.
"I'm an old-fashioned guy...
I want to be an old man
with a beer belly sitting on
a porch, looking at a lake